Reno Your Rental

Reno Your Rental (On The Cheap)

Being a renter who is trying to save for our own house, I have really learnt how to extend my dollar as far as possible to make a chic, comfortable home I want to spend time in. Our little space has great bones, a ton of light and a great layout, so it’s really just been a matter of stepping it up a little bit. I have wanted to be really careful to keep spending to an absolute minimum. Which is obviously quite difficult. At times, it means being appreciative and not fretting over what I don’t have (a dining room), and other times it has meant being creative, rather than going for something I really want (tile backsplash people!)

So, to kick things off, let’s start with the kitchen. It’s not my white marble and gold accessory haven I stay up late dreaming about, but it’s cute, fresh, and only cost about $30 in hardware because we had all the paint and plywood, and another $25 for this undermount lighting from Ikea.

But first, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

The day we moved in:




This was during our Christmas party a few weeks after moving in, and it pretty much stayed like this until last month.



Now, this is where we are at. Painted cabinets, built cabinet doors for the open concept cabinets ( I love that look if they’re glass and full of crystal but didn’t so much love it as my most accessible cabinets), bought new hardware, attached under mounted lighting, and painted a tile pattern to add a little colour.

We took all of the cabinet doors off and painted them in the garage. While they dried I painted the base of the cabinets to match.  If you didn’t want to buy new hardware you could also just  spray paint yours. I didn’t want any ware so I opted to buy new handles, but spray painted all of the hinges and screws.

I desperately wanted to do a tile backsplash but I realized how silly that is when we are trying to put every penny towards our own place. Once I accepted that I started to research creative ways to add interest and I came across this look on Pinterest (of course!). It’s a bit hard to tell in these pictures but there are 4 colours on it. Grey, turquoise, navy, and where the white boxes were left I mixed the grey with a white to come up with a lighter colour that ties it all together. The taping was the hardest part, but nothing a  level and my handman couldn’t handle.

Paint Tiling

DIY Undermounted Lighting

Reno Your Rental Kitchen

Freshened Up Rental Kitchen

IMG_0490  IMG_0495


So voila! All it takes is a little paint on the walls, and cabinets, and you’ve got yourself a total refresher. What do ya think?

Kirsten xo

DIY Tufted Headboard

DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

Ok, I am so unbelievably happy with this project I don’t even know where to start. I have always wanted to diy a headboard but at the condo we just had a couple canvasses above the bed and it worked out. With the move, we upgraded our bed from a queen to a cal king and the bed is literally too big to have bedside tables. This obviously causes a few problems, lighting being the main one. We knew we needed a solution and a headboard with sconces seemed like the natural choice. I have to give HUGE thanks to my hunny for designing and building this beautiful piece. I only specified one thing that I wanted, that was a fabric element and he totally rolled with it. I love having someone who feeds my creativity so well- it’s so nice to come up with an idea, and within a few hours having him really take interest in it. If you are in the market for a headboard I cannot encourage you enough to consider making your own. You can easily do it for $100 and a few hours. I would say that ours is a little more complicated and detailed as we did our own electrical and required a number of power tools but you could easily do something like this, this or this.

Here is a breakdown of what ours cost:

  • Plywood = $50
  • 2 2×12 cut in half = $30
  • Fabric, batting, 4 button kits, upholstery needles and thread = $90
  • Foam = $53
  • Sconces x 2 = $60
  • Switches = $3 (we had the plugs and cords already)
  • Stain = $18
  • Total = $304

And here is what our old master looked like in the condo:


Alternate Headboard Ideas  | 1924 London

Alternate Headboard Options  | 1924 London


In absence of a jig, clamps and a square were used to secure 2x6s into place while attaching strap ties. This step will require a Pony clamp and a 10’ Black Pipe. To prevent splitting of the 2×6’s, pilot holes were drilled for each screw using a 9/64 drill bit. Use 1½” screws to attach strap ties to the beams




Attach large plywood cap to back of frame using more 1½” screws. This gives the structure rigidity and stability. It will also give distance from the wall at the top to compensate for molding that sticks out from the wall at the bottom



Measure position for wall sconces. Each sconce has a mounting place that screws onto the 2x6s and from which bolt studs protrude for attaching the sconce. In the center of the plate is a hole for wires to run through. Position plate and use ¾” drill to drill hole through 2×6 for the wires to stick out the back. Because the mounting bolts have pan-heads, use a 3/8 bit to drill recesses into the 2×6 for bolt heads to rest in.




Measure position for light switches. The sconces will have independent switches, one on each side of the headboard. Once position on the 2×6 was determined, a router set to the thickness of the switch was used to create a cavity on the back of the 2×6 in which the switch will rest. Also rout out two notches on the top and bottom of the cavity for the wires to come in and out of the switch. Repeat for the other side.



Sand and stain the frame. We started with a dark Mahogany colour that after a few coats was still looking too red. We decided to buy a darker colour and only ended up needing one coat.


For the inset:

Measure the size of your space in the frame, less a 1/4 inch on all sides (roughly the thickness of batting and fabric) and cut a piece of plywood to those measurements. Next, if you are going the tufting route- mark out your button pattern. You can play around with this a lot. You will need to decide between diamonds and squares (we went with squares) and how dramatic of a look you want. The more buttons the more dramatic a headboard. We opted for simplicity and clean lines so we settled on 3 rows of 4. Once you have decided on your pattern, measure and mark your plywood so that you can drill holes for your needle to go through. We did them quite small and when we moved on to the tufting portion it was a bit tough to get the needle back through the hole. I would suggest a 1/8″ hole.


Follow the directions on your button covering kits to cover them with your excess fabric- I was really surprised by how difficult this was. I was not able to cover even a single one of these buttons. C did them all! The problem here is that the fabric has to be cut just right and the backs are extremely tough to clip on. Overall totally worth having, I can’t imagine it with different coloured buttons. Just a heads up it may be extremely frustrating if you are on your own.

Button Covering Kit  | 1924 London

Spray your foam and plywood with a spray adhesive and place on top of plywood inset. Lay plywood piece down on your batting, wrap around and staple to the back.


Once your plywood has foam wrapped in batting, lay your fabric out on a smooth clean surface and tightly wrap and staple to the back. We found doing the top and bottom then sides kept things nice and smooth. Flip the board over and check as you go. If you are using a fabric with a print or design this is where your project can start to look diy. Be sure to line up your print! Fold the corners neatly and staple lots to secure it


Once your piece is covered you can take your long (4-6 inches) upholstery needle, thread it and tie a washer to the end of it. From the back side, push the needle through the wood, foam, and fabric; place the button on the front, wrap around a few times to secure, and push the needle through to the back.


For extra security, we stapled the washers down.



DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

Now I am leaving out a few pictures here because this post is getting longer and longer. At this point you place your inset into the frame and from the back screw in using 3/4″ counter sunk screws.

Mounting and wiring the lights comes next. As previously shown, holes for the cables and recesses for the mounting bolts were measured and drilled in the front of the 2x6s. The mounting plates were screwed in and the lamps wired to 16/2 SPT-2 double electrical cord using the marrettes supplied in the sconce kits.

We ran the lamp cord down to the two recesses previously routed for the light switches and wired in the switches. The cords were then stapled to the back of the frame.

Each lamp uses its own modified extension cord. This eliminates the need to wire in a plug and simplifies the electrical work by having each lamp on its own power supply, thereby eliminating a bulky junction box – something not overly conducive to do-it-yourself’ers.

Lastly came the installation. The original plan was to have the headboard bolted to the bed frame via the flanges at the bottom of the frame. This was abandoned because it didn’t provide any way of securing the top from falling over, and also allows the bed to be moved around independent of the headboard.

The headboard is instead secured to the wall with a single 4″ #10 screw in the center of the bottom crossbeam. The 4″ screw is long enough to go all the way into the wall stud and has enough bite that only one screw was needed.

The final step was to plug the two cords into the wall and hope that the lights worked.

And now for the grand finale…

DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

The switch that is on each side, and look at that grain! Ladies, when using wood I know we tend to want to paint it, but stain is so the way to go! You get the look we all love with a nice re purposed look. I absolutely love the close up details!


DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

When we got our new bedding I got rid of all of our black throw pillows but now that we have the dark headboard I am wishing I held on to them, don’t pillows just make a bed that much more inviting?

DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

DIY Tufted Headboard with Frame  | 1924 London

DIY Tufted Headboard with Sconces  | 1924 London

The light looks really yellow in these pictures but I think that was because I was playing around with my camera

DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

Have you made your own diy headboard? If so leave your link in the comments- I want to see them!

Kirsten xo

cowl and co header

I am so excited to be bringing you this feature today! I am feeling a sense of hometown pride because a dear friend of mine from high school Jen, along with her sister Kim, have started selling their beautiful handmade creations under the name, Cowl & Company


Cowl & Company

KimCowl & Company

Jen, your background is not in fashion, how did you get started with Cowl & Company?  

Though my professional background isn’t in fashion, I have always loved fashion, I believe a love for something paired with enough creativity and drive will help you to achieve anything. Cowl & Company began in December 2012. I had found an amazing Nordic fleece fabric that was so thick, soft, and had the cutest reindeer pattern, and super cozy (perfect for Vancouver’s rainy winters!) I bought enough to make one cowl for myself, and then received so many compliments over it that I made some for friends, and then realized there was a demand for good quality, locally made cowls (I’m in love with cowls vs. scarves simply because in the wind of downtown – a regular scarf will get blown away pretty quickly!).

Then everything started to blossom. I set a goal of having an online shop and Facebook page, with 6 different cowls by December 5, 2012. At that moment I realized that I needed help, and that it would be more fun having someone special along for the ride. I knew Kim loved crocheting, so I threw the question out there – and asked if she wanted to sell her creations. She was hesitant but I think if you asked her now she wouldn’t regret her decision! We spent all 4 days leading up to December 5th purchasing lots of Nordic fleece fabric, and jersey fabrics. I searched through many, many fabric stores looking for just the right fabric! When we launched we had overwhelming support, and the support hasn’t stopped. Now, we have sold over 150 cowls, and we can’t wait to see what will happen in 2013!

We all have those days when the creative juices just aren’t flowing. What inspires you to keep going and create these beautiful cowls?

Kim: The wonderful thing about crocheting is I rarely get bored. There are so many beautiful patterns and yarns. If I’m lacking inspiration I’ll go to my local yarn store, Three Bags Full, and simply look and touch the different yarns until I find one that stands out. I also love to crochet outside, with the flowers and the birds. I could sit outside all day!

Cowl & Company

Tell us a little bit about your sister.

Jen: Kim is an amazing crocheter and knitter. She creates things that I thought only machines could. Her dedication to expanding her knowledge in the field of needlework is so admirable. Kim doesn’t care about doing things out of the box – she loves her field of education (mining engineering) and crocheting. They don’t go together for most people – but they do for her!

Kim: Jen has been a very creative person since she was a kid. She loved to draw and make houses for her toys. She spent awhile trying different crafts before figuring out that she loved fabrics and sewing. Ever since she has been extremely dedicated to her craft and expanding her skills. Jen sets her mind on something, and gets it done. She has always been like that.

What is your goal with Cowl & Company?

Jen: My goal with Cowl & Company is to provide the public with great, handmade pieces. Each of our items has been handmade from beginning to end. From finding the wool or fabric, to deciding what we want to turn it into, to completion, and then selling it at markets – everything is done by Kim & I – and people appreciate that. We want to be able to provide this for as long as possible.

Kim: My goal is to continue to grow the company with my sister. This will mean continuing to develop my skills as a crocheter (and up-and-coming knitter!) so that I can deliver the best products to our customers. I am starting the process of designing my own crochet patterns, I’m excited to be able to eventually sell my own designed finished products as well as offer my patterns to other crocheters.

What is the best part about working with your sister?

Jen: The best part about working with Kim in this adventure, is the amount of time we spend together. We crochet together (though she is much better!), we have tea together, brainstorm ideas together, and attend markets together. Our differences make us stronger as a team.

Kim: My sister and I are very different people, having this company with her has allowed us to share something common together. I’ve gotten to know her better and we’ve become more like friends then sisters because of it. I’ve also been able to give her some crochet tips, as she is learning, which has been pretty neat.

What styling tips would you suggest to your customers? Is there a right or wrong way to wear your cowl?

Jen: Well, there isn’t a “right or wrong” way. We like to wear them long, or loop them once around the neck to make them shorter or more comfortable. To each their own! The only word of advice I would have, is that once you put your cowl on – check it out in the mirror and notice how great you look! …and fluff it because sometimes they can use a little of that!

Kim:  I really don’t think there is a right or wrong way to wear our cowls. Everyone is different and everyone will want to wear them differently. Wear them looped once or twice, wear them with jeans, leggings or a dress, it doesn’t matter!

Cowl & Company

What advice can you offer to other young entrepreneurs wanting to get started?

Jen: Go for it! Dream big! Start it up and see where it can go. More and more people are realizing that we can do whatever we set our mind to – it’s cliché but so true! If you love making or doing something, why not turn it into a business? We are so lucky to be in a country that takes pride in small businesses, so why not? What do you have to lose?

Kim:  Dive in! The hardest part is taking the first steps. Develop connections with other entrepreneurs, these connections are crucial.

What’s next for Cowl & Company?

Jen: That’s a great question. We don’t really know! To be practical, we are going to be at many, many Vancouver markets throughout the year. Our main goal long-term is to be carried in a few boutiques, but they have to be the right ones. Cowl & Company is like a baby to us, and we want to see how far it can go.  We want it’s feel to stay local, and home-grown, so we tread lightly into expansion.

Kim: Well, we have a line up of spring craft fairs (including Got Craft? and Great Canadian Craft Fair) and are investigating boutiques that may be interested in carrying our cowls. For crocheting/knitting, I am starting a line of Tea Cozies that are the CUTEST things I have ever created. Can’t wait to debut them!

My pick for the perfect Spring addition to your wardrobe:

Cowl & Company

Next time you need a gift for someone special or feel like treating yourself, don’t go to the mall for something generic, be sure to check out their fabulous Etsy shop here: Cowl & Company and their website here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed their beautiful designs as much as I have!

Kirsten xo

Valentines Wreathe

What you will need:

  • Cardboard. I used two sides of a granola box hot glued together
  • Hot glue gun
  • 1 package of tissue paper
  • Scissors

Start by cutting out your shape. I went with a heart for Valentines but you could do a plain square or maybe a letter.

Cut your tissue paper into long strips about an inch wide and then cut in half again to be roughly 1 inch x 6 inches. The size does not make any difference it just makes the tissue paper last longer.

Take one strip of tissue and wrap around your finger to form a flower

Valentines Tissue Paper Wreathe

Dab glue on the bottom of the flower and attach to cardboard. I went all the way around the outside before filling in the centre

Valentines Tissue Paper Wreathe

Almost there. From this point I just filled in all the empty spots that I could see

Valentines Tissue Paper Wreathe

You have a few options when you are done: you can put two holes on either point (like I did) and string up, or one hole in the middle to tie your string around.

DIY Tissue Paper Wreathe


DIY Tissue Paper Wreathe

Kirsten xo Heart

Christmas Stockings

Last year was our first Christmas in our home and I wanted to be sure everything was perfect. The bar was set so high thanks to both my Mom and CWM’s that I focused on every little detail. My Mom handmade my stocking when I was young and it has always been  a constant through changing ornaments and decor trends so I was keen to find us two stockings that we loved and would last us for many years to come. After searching for months, our Christmas morning rolled around and we still had no stockings. We ended up using boots, and life went on! Since we had the majority of our decorations this year I decided to put my effort into finding us stockings. After a whole weekend of searching, still nothing that we liked. Finally I gave up and decided to make them. Here are the steps: 

I started with one metre of grey fleece for the liner, one metre of plaid, and 40 inches of fur to top the stocking. I made two and had a ton of fabric left over so you could easily buy half a metre but I think its better to be safe and have extra. You will also need scissors, a needle and thread (or sewing machine!), and paper to draw your template

Draw (or print) and cut out your stocking template then cut out your fleece around it

Line up your fleece so that the colour you want on the inside of your stocking is on the inside and stitch down one side, around the heel and toe, and back up the other side. Flip inside out so that the stitching disappears

Lay your fleece liner on the outer fabric and cut out a little bigger then the liner

Stitch your plaid stocking and then insert the fleece liner into it. I photographed this  with the liner inside out. Now when you look inside the stocking you see grey. I then put a few stitches at the top, toe and heel  all along the seam, to hold the liner in place

Cuff your topper of choice over the top of the stocking  and put a stitch through the fur, plaid, fleece and back through the other side of the fur for a seamless top

Save one small piece of fabric or ribbon to hang the stocking and voila! I made mine with the plaid straight up and down, and CWM’s with the plaid on an angle

I might embroider our initials on them or get iron on letters at some point but for now I love them just the way they are. I am so so so happy with how they turned out and think that they will last us for many Christmases!